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Grateful Dead Live at McFarlin Auditorium, S.M.U. on 1969-12-26

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Grateful Dead Live at McFarlin Auditorium, S.M.U. on 1969-12-26

Publication date 1969-12-26 (check for other copies)
Topics Live concert
Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
The Monkey & The Engineer, Little Sadie, Long Black Limousine, I've Been All Around This World, Gathering Flowers For The Master's Bouquet, Black Peter, Uncle John's Band Casey Jones, Hard To Handle, Cold Rain & Snow, China Cat Sunflower-> Jam-> I Know You Rider-> High Time, Me And My Uncle, Dark Star, New Speedway Boogie, Turn On Your Love Light


There are cuts at the beginning of China Cat, the end of Dark Star (midway through the second verse of lyrics), and the beginning of New Speedway Boogie. These cuts are on all circulating versions.


Reviewer: whit537 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 19, 2017
Subject: "You just had it done to ya by the Grateful Dead!"
Truth! Best Lovelight so far, and it's hard to imagine them topping it. Not only does everyone nail the boxback, but Pig actually gets the rhythm right on stingray for once ... both rare in isolation, unheard of in combination. Even Bobby's caterwauling towards the end is in key! Give me this one over the 45-minute rambles any day.

Darkstar, etc. also solid, though the cuts are rough as noted.
Reviewer: c-freedom - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 26, 2016
Subject: This train got to run today..
Only reason I give this a 4 is because the cuts listed in the notes do hit hard during the show but on the other hand this is a very nice early acoustic/electric show from very late 1969 that would become more standard in 1970.
This one is definitely a keeper!
Reviewer: tomatoman4666 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 29, 2016
Subject: To balance out the previous review...
I know this is supposed to be subjective, no right and wrong. Whatever. And. So. I should be nice, but feeling pigpen rolling over in his grave reading that this is almost a star show with not much besides a good dark star? Who gives a rat's ass about Dark Star anyway. Just a high brow Space, for trippers. BTW, the best dark star is 10/25 or 6/69...

Most of it rocks.

As for actual songs, where Jerry's manic, clear, screaming guitar shines, this show is an easy 5 star. Manic but mellow and controlled here. Love it.

The hard to handle is hotter than hell.
Reviewer: clementinescaboose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 18, 2015
Subject: Incredible Dark Star
But not much else, besides some interesting acoustic rarities.

At least hear the Dark Star, because it's one of the finest of the period.
Reviewer: Skobud - favoritefavoritefavorite - November 21, 2012
Subject: Almost a 4 star show...
I really enjoyed this show. There is some great banter throughout and they just sound like they are having fun. They start out by informing the crowd that Billy is stuck on a plane somewhere and that they were going to go ahead and play a little while they wait. I’m still not sure if this was unplanned or what – meaning I’m not sure if the Acoustic was an improv type of deal or they had already planned it. There are some real gems in this acoustic set as well – I mean if the tune was not rare, it was still really well done. These ’70 acoustic sets always seem to have a gospel feel to them and the harmonies are wonderful.

The kick things off with Monkey and the Engineer, and it was OK, never really been a favorite of mine. I like the latter versions better than the prior. Little Sadie is next, and what a wonderful version this is. I always wished this was played more, and I pretty much dig any and all versions out there. The whole ”44 smokeless’ line gets me every time. During Long Black Limo them seemed to start really feeling it. Serious Jug band shit right here. Been all Around this World comes on next and I have always been a sucker for this one. Jerry pulls this one off really well, and his vocals are sounding really awesome this show. Prior to this show, I had never heard Gathering Flowers for the Masters Bouquet. Its got a gospel feel to it and Bobby does really well with it – almost surprisingly well. Songs like this are not so easy to pull off well, and does a great job. Black Peter follows, and it is the best of the first set imo. What an incredible job of telling the story by Jerry, plus the incredibly slow tempo coupled with the acoustic flair make this a true gem. Beautiful job by Jerry right here. UJB seemed as if they were having a little trouble getting it going or something, and it never really came together in my opinion. Hey eventually got it together and ended up pulling it off pretty nicely. What a nice acoustic set that was! Heartfelt and sincere feeling. I really enjoyed that listen. It has been a while since I treated myself to some early acoustic like this. All in all, fantastic first set.

The second set kicks off with Casey, and it really did not impress me too much. Jerry does some interesting soloing towards the end, but nothing to groundbreaking here. Next up is Pig’s first appearance with Hard to Handle, and I have to say this one did not do too much for me either. Seems to not really get it going to strong until about half way through when jerry shreds his first solo seemingly trying to get everyone else jump started. Good not great – AND this is one tune I think TC should stay completely out of. His accents here are worthless imo. CRS follows and it is the earlier surf style which I generally dig, but again, this seems a little flat to me. I just was not impressed at all by this one. NOW, the China>Jam>Rider>High Time comes up next and it is fucking incredible. I mean this thing is form another planet. Also, this is the first time I can really start hearing Phil well and he certainly does not disappoint. At about the 4 min mark of China shit really takes off and never comes back down. This little teeny jam tucked in between China and Rider is absolutely incredible. They seem to just escalate this one more and more until it busts right outta they freaking building. WOW, that was something. The High Time is perfectly placed ands allows the crowd to catch their collective breath before unleashing a really unique MAMU(if that is possible). Yes it is possible and this one almost has a bluesy or soulful feel to it. Bobby really gives it hell and clears the table just in time for this evenings masterpiece, Dark Star. This is classic Live Dead style jammage here, with a sprinkle of semi drifty shit going on a la 72-73. I was just taken by this one, my notes are somewhat light because I was listening so closely and not writing so much. At the 16 minute mark I could not tell if the jam turned into a ‘Tighten-Up’ or ‘Feelin Groovy”, but either way it just beautiful. Can anyone clarify that one for me? I was so impressed by this I gave a second spin on the spot. Classic, classic Jerry right here. Loved it, cant say enough. Probably need to listen to it about 10 or 15 more times to catch everything in there. TC is such a big part of this DS, plus most from this era. The cut is brutal, but – what the hell ya gonna do? The jump from their right into a cut, but really nice New Speedway Pig winds the evening up with a shit hot Lovelight. Really well done n an otherwise Pig free show. They wind the living shit outta this one and absolutely freakin erupt at the end. Im not sure how long it is, but I think it clocks in at around 25 min and all of the necessary elements are evident in this one. Success for sure and that is that.

Thoughts – I really liked this one, and it was really fun to listen to. I was never bored, even when I thought they were just kinda forcing it. I thought everything before China was kinda forced and not too good, and everything after really kicked ass. The whole acoustic set was really good and definitely worth the listen. If the second set started a little stronger and they could continued the energy throughout, I think this coulda been an all timer. This one definitely flies under the radar and it is a true gem. Like I said, I was just looking for a Christmas show and looked up ’69 first because of all the great shows right around this one. Impressive for sure. I give this show a good solid A, and it would have been higher with a little stronger showing at the start of the second set. I definitely recommend this show. Merry Christmas and Cheers everyone!
Reviewer: Pangolin22 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 12, 2011
Subject: Period of transition
This is sound of the band in transition, moving towards the sound they would establish in '70. One of the most mournful acoustic sets the band performed (except the Monkey & the Engineer and UJB) and it's just gorgeous.
Great electric set to follow. I found the Dark Star less that engaging until they reach the 'Feelin' Groovy'/UJB jam when it becomes one of the most joyful DS jams you're likely to hear. The real highlight of this show for me is that outstanding New Speedway complete with harmonies - 5 stars for that performance alone!
Reviewer: nigeldavahah - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 26, 2010
Subject: Love this show

Great Darkstar !
Reviewer: bootlegsrock! - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 25, 2010
Subject: gathering flowers
i don't think i missed it on anyone else's comments,but it is worth noting that THIS is THE ONLY TIME they played "gathering flowers for the master's boquet"!
Reviewer: oReOs - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 29, 2009
Subject: Love this show
This is the first 69 Acoustic show that I've heard. I'm loving it! Sounds Great and the Black Peter is long and gets real experimental throught. Both Bobby and Jerry explored some good stuff here.
Reviewer: oh_uh_um_ah - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 24, 2008
Subject: First 6 Tracks are ACCOUSTIC DEAD 1969
Clean audio stereo mix. Good High Quality sound.

This show starts off great and gets better and better. You are very lucky to have found this show. Down Load now, do not miss this show.

The first 6 tracks are just Jerry and Bobby on acoustic guitars.

It's nice to hear'em playing "country" music.

The rest of the DEAD arrive and they play UJB accoustically...then start the electric GRATEFUL DEAD with Casey Jones.

Garcia's guitar sound is classic 1969. It's full of tone, color, dimension, and life.

Hard to Handle sounds really good, nice organ playing. Pigpen nails this show with his singing and his playing.

Pigpen's playing is exceptional on organ. It's so nice to hear him. His playing is very tasty. He added a lot without ever playing solos. You can't say that about many "organ/keyboard" players.

I always liked Pigpen on organ. He played the spaces, filled in parts that connected the music like a needle & thread. He had a sound no one else had. And played the Organ unlike the usual keyborad/organ players.

By the time Dark Star is performed the audience is DEAD QUITE. Blown away no doubt, in awe and stunned to witness a performance of this magnitude.

Bobby breaks a string and the band takes a break, Phil says in the mic: can't you people reach over and fondle the person next to you and create a little excitement in here? "grope a little, I mean it's dark"

So quiet is the audience that Garcia says: Man this place is really quiet, no kidding are you people all sitting in the dark watching us goof around up here? It's not like we are doing something important you know?, It's not that important man, if it was that important we wouldn't do it...

DARK STAR. It's a Beatiful version of Dark Star too, there's even a "tighten Up" jam in it!! LMAO!! How can this be??? One of the Best versions there is. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW. DOWN LOAD IT NOW.

Dark Star goes into New Speedway Boogie...yup, it's an electric version...

Well I've listened to the show as I downloaded it, and it's fantastic. GET THIS SHOW!

5 stars for the show, 5 stars for the recording.

Eat, drink be merry and listen to the GRATEFUL DEAD.

Thanks for the Love...
Reviewer: Chris U. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 21, 2008
Subject: Stopover ... WITH CHIMES
Nobody has mentioned that this show was basically a stopover show on the way to the East Coast from California. Anyway, there it is.

I've always dug this very mellow and laid back Dark Star. Love those wind chimes!!!!!! They are more audible, or at least play a more significant role, on this recording relative to any other Dark Star I have heard.
Reviewer: gmcgill - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 20, 2008
Subject: First Concert Ever
This was my first concert ever (14 years old). The parents dropped us off at SMU and we returned home with a different perspective on what our life might/would look like... The music, the audience, and the general vibe of this event was something that certainly changed my (limited) view of the world at that time. And it was a great show. Looking for this particular show is what led me to the archives a few years ago (another transformational event perhaps).
Reviewer: len pierce - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 20, 2008
Subject: acoustic
The April 5th 1969 show at Avalon opened in acoustic mode (Dupree's > Mountains, with Jerry on vocals on Mountains)
Reviewer: Ianuaditis - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 18, 2005
Subject: the 2nd Acoustic set ever
per Deadbase, the 4 song set on 12/19 was the first. This one is better, if only because it's longer, highlighted by a nice Black Peter and semi-electric Uncle John's. (not to mention Sadie)

The electric set is pretty good as well. I liked the Dark Star, a typical 'stage II' version with some nice jams after the first verse. (Some good work by TC especially) The cut at the end carries over to the beginning of New Speedway Boogie, which features some unusual backing vocals (not hard to see why they dropped them.) (BTW, as someone mentioned, Hunter calls NSB an oblique comment on Altamont (my paraphrase.)Lovelight is short, but longer than the 10 minutes they supposedly had left.

A 4 for the cuts, and for some sloppy vocals especially on HTH.
Sound is a 5 for '69; I like how you can hear TC's organ.
Reviewer: seedanrun - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 26, 2005
Subject: NSB
A point of clarification -- NSB was written in response to Altamont, not Kent State.
Reviewer: earwig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 9, 2005
Subject: Need a vintage recording guru's help...
... to understand. First, download this show as well as the Fillmore show (29th). They both purport to be the first acoustic show, because of Bill being late. Im very interested in the band's transistion from the machine-eating psychedlic monster of the late 60's to the sweet/sad acoustic combo of the early 70's. Any ideas? For instance, was Bill actually late to both shows, leading to the same type of acoustic set as a result? And was it actually only serendipidy that led to the acoustic stuff. Naturally it became a mjor part of the trip during 1970 (with the NRPS shows). Also, has anyone else notoced how often NSB is described as a reaction to Kent State? The timeline seems to blow that analysis away...
At any rate, this is WONDERFUL music. Do yourself a favor and git it, right this very second.
Reviewer: capn doubledose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 20, 2005
Subject: Acoustic gets A+
Agree with others the dark star is not that great Jerry was prob pissed and they could not get their mojo going - new speedway was great though and the audience sounds so polite like some of the Europe '72 shows.
Reviewer: Bobk - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 28, 2004
Subject: first acoustic..
nice quality sound.. this show I believe qualifys as the first offical public performance of the acoustic dead.. as stated Billy was running late.. a twist of fate .. the electric portion takes a wile to get going but a must have show for historical pieces...
Reviewer: wisekwai - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 14, 2004
Subject: Nice
Nice acoustic set at the beginning while the guys were waiting on Phil (or was it Bill) to show up. Some nice readings of some gospel and country standards.

Second set has good energy.

However, I was just getting into the groove of Rain and Snow when it cut out. The beginning of China Cat is chopped as well.

A jarring problem, but really a minor quibble compared to the treasure that this performance is.
Reviewer: Peacefuljon - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 29, 2004
Subject: First set a must
First set is fantastic... Bill was late I guess Christmas being the day before. So the unexpected acoustic first set acoustic is a gem...The energy for the rest is OK>>
Reviewer: samson - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 26, 2004
Subject: Acoustic Dead!!!
Since Billy was late Bobby and Jerry came out to play some old acoustic standards. Very nice. Unfortunately, things did not heat up until the second half of Dark Star. Lovelight was way to short. Still solid but short (I prefer the 25 minute versions to the 15). Good Hard to Handle too. Very nice acoustic set though. Sound is good and the acoustic guitars come in clear. I could listen to the first half over and over. This is a very nice hint at what was to come a couple months later...
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on 4/23/2004
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